Matthew Roberts takes a look at the latest WWE Home Video release, and the last PLE stop on the road to WrestleMania, Elimination Chamber 2023
With two Chamber matches, Brock Lesnar against Bobby Lashley, the latest Edge/Beth Phoenix on-screen reunion and one of the most hotly anticipated World Title matches in years, Elimination Chamber may have only had five matches on tap but all combined to put together an enticing show on paper.
Normally a “themed “PLE would live or die on the merits of those gimmick matches. The stakes, in some respects, seemed lower than usual. The Women’s Chamber match which opened up things was for the right to meet Bianca Belair for her Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania. This is indeed something important but perhaps felt less so than usual given the whole Rumble winner choses their title thing. Plus, nothing other than Asuka challenging Belair felt like anything approaching a “WrestleMania quality” match-up. But if the result was fairly obvious this was still a fun enough way of getting there. Not up there with the best of the Women’s Chamber matchers but did what it needed to do.
The Men’s Chamber match was for Austin Theory’s United States Championship. It was a lot better than the Women’s and was a little less predictable in terms of a result. It featured an array of good talents who all put their best feet forward. It had loads of the usual ridiculous high-spots that these matches are made of and even if, ultimately, the whole thing became a set up for the Seth Rollins/Logan Paul WM match it was no less thrilling for that.
The “undercard” was rounded out with the two non-title matches outlined at the beginning of this review. Lesnar/Lashley was a sub-five minutes match with a DQ finish but was fun enough in the time allotted. It seemed then (and probably confirmed later) that this was booked with something else in mind before Brock nixed the idea of working against Bray Wyatt at Mania. The mixed tag pitting Edge and Beth against Finn Balor and Rhea Ripley made sense in the fact that the two teams had heat from clashes and angles in 2022 but was it was incongruous to see Ripley messing around in this when her concentration should have been getting ready for Charlotte at WM. It was fun, but Balor losing suggested this feud should have been done, but as we know they carried on until Mania.
The main event was, as we said, hotly anticipated across the world. And not just in Montreal. There seemed something organic about the whole Sami Zayn/Bloodline storyline that (sort of) came to a head here. And whilst what happened after this PLE makes it seem madness that people ever thought this was going to be Zayn’s night it has to be said that despite all the evidence to the contrary, on the night you could believe. Reigns delivered another spot on performance that really showed what a master of the psychology of a match he has become. Zayn rode the wave of emotion to give a classic “underdog” performance that resonated with everyone. It may not have ended the way 99% of people wanted, but it was no less compelling for that.
Overall the event was a HUGE win. An-all time classic main event coupled with a fantastic men’s Chamber match saw to that. The women’s match was good as well, with an entertaining mixed tag helping things along too. The only real disappointment was Lesnar/Lashley but even then you couldn’t say it was dull.
8 out of 10.